As I was scrolling through the new questions of MSE, I thought of checking out some of my previous unaccepted answers and learn something from the accepted answers.

And it happened that a question($g(x) = e^{f(2x)}, f(2) = 0, f'(2) = 1$, then what is $g'(1)?$) which I had answered two days ago has received a new answer just three hours ago which is identical to mine.

There are many instances when I would be typing out the answer and would have to discard as some other user would have already provided the same thought as mine. Also, some hours difference (as we all have different time zones) would also make no difference as such.

I don't have any problem with the other answer, I just want to know that whether more than one answers speaking of exactly the same thing allowed?

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    $\begingroup$ If you suspect they just copied, I would flag for moderator attention. If they independently came to the same answer, I would think it’s not against any rules. in either case it might be downvoted or deleted (your specific example is now downvoted ) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ @CalvinKhor Sir if it isn't against any rules ,I don't have any issue with the answer as it is most probably not copied (because from the about section it seems the user is a PhD student whereas I am just a highschool student). $\endgroup$
    – user1078285
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 2:50
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I didn't vote this time. But the answers are quite similar. In general though, even if the proof or idea is the "same", sometimes the presentation can be very different and then it is worth keeping both versions around. Another case is one user providing a sketch, and a different user writing a full proof $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 3:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Calvin But that user has also duplicated other answers too, e.g. this essentially duplicates an answer posted $3$ years prior. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque well. That’s the sort of stuff I hope mod flags help catch. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


I don't want to start anything unhealthy, but:

The user you mention has posted 30 answers. 20/30 were posted after another answer. Of the remaining 10, three were answers to their own question and they have been called out for this on at least one of their other answers. One can argue that their answers add something new- after all, there is nothing wrong posting a new answer if you think it's better/ different/ etc. I have not read any of the answers so cannot comment on that, yet this clearly indicates a pattern.

If this would be better as a comment I can make it so.

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    $\begingroup$ If a question has three answers, that means that two-out-of-three of the answers were posted after another answer. If the average question (not counting questions that have no answers) has three or more answers, then two-thirds or more of all answers are posted after another answer. So I think we need more data before we draw any conclusions from 20 of 30 answers being posted after another answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson According to this data.stackexchange thing the average is 1.3 answers per question. That said, I agree that it is a small sample size $\endgroup$
    – Sal
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ I can't tell whether that average includes questions with zero answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 0:11

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